How to deal with an unreasonable person

Good morning, Darling Lovelies! Today’s topic is one I’ve been doing a fair bit of research on. I’m not a psychologist, counsellor, psychiatrist or anything else – if you think someone is posing danger to you, themselves or anyone else, please do seek professional advice.

While there are many lovely people on this planet, you’d have to be living under a rock not to have encountered lots of difficult and / or unreasonable people along your journey. Whether it’s a friend who’s being unfair to you, a frosty colleague or even a surly sales assistant, you could stumble upon an unreasonable person anywhere. So how do you deal with a challenging personality type when you’re at the point of tearing your own hair out? I’ve tried to make this as general as possible so that it can be applied to any situation.

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Staying calm will light the way

Ignore

Unless you can’t. It’s pretty difficult to ignore your work colleagues or your family, but there are many situations where you can just walk away. For example, I see a lot of people (and I’ve been guilty of this in the past) getting embroiled in pointless Facebook wars with strangers. That’s what I call unnecessary stress – you can’t educate the unreasonable, nor is it your job to. Unreasonable people will ignore any legitimate points you’ve made and just repeat themselves without offering a rebuttal. If you don’t have to deal with the unreasonable person, go and find a brick wall to lightly bang your head against instead. Just kidding.

Only rebut for the benefit of others

If you think the unreasonable person is in danger of spreading their unreasonableness to others (often unreasonable people will bend, stretch or be selective with the truth – or downright lie – in order to appear more justified) then provide a very calm and sensible rebuttal. However, don’t make the mistakes of a) thinking that you will change the person’s opinion or b) losing your temper and your poise. Lay some facts bare and then leave it alone. Don’t engage with any responses, verbal, written or otherwise and don’t see red and let your tone become aggressive nor start hurling insults. If someone is spoiling for a fight, don’t give them one.

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Have you really listened?

Check yourself – are you being fair?

Sometimes, when you feel someone is unreasonable, you also run the risk of becoming too entrenched in your position. Listen to what the unreasonable person is saying – are there elements of truth? Are you being fair towards them or have you dismissed them out of hand because of their character? The more just you are towards them, the better the outcome for everyone. There’s often no such thing as outright, black and white right and wrong, and if you can’t see the nuances in the situation then perhaps you are also being a tad unreasonable.

Can you compromise?

The problem with a lot of unreasonable people is that compromise isn’t a thing. Meeting in the middle isn’t something they do well, and if it’s their way or the highway, then this probably won’t work. Offer a compromise as an olive branch – it’s all you can do to be fair.

Don’t give in

If you think someone is trying to do or make you do something damaging, unhelpful or wrong, or if you’re being accused of something that isn’t true, don’t fold for the sake of peace. Unreasonable people are often used to bullying people into giving them what they want, and you don’t have to give anything that you don’t want to. If you’ve really checked with yourself that you’re being fair and true, you’ve offered a compromise and you’re still being met with a wall of dissent, then stay firm and calm. The person who shouts loudest isn’t always right.

Are you dealing with an unreasonable person? Do you have a foolproof strategy? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment box.

2 Comments on How to deal with an unreasonable person

  1. Marsha
    July 30, 2014 at 7:31 am (3 years ago)

    All true observations and good practice. However, best to choose your battles with the aim to win the war! The goal? – saving your own sanity!

    Reply
    • Sara - Darling Lovely Life editor
      August 1, 2014 at 7:31 am (3 years ago)

      Great advice, Marsha! Not picking up on every unreasonable point for the sake of proving yourself right is a great way to stay sane ;) xxx

      Reply

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